Do it, so you can do it again.
We’re quickly approaching the one year mark and are still unable to say that one room is “finished” so I can relate to those who feel overwhelmed and who have lost hope in their home decorating abilities. Yet for some reason, I remain dedicated and more motivated than ever when it comes to our home. I know it’s a process and you can’t always get to everything but I actually look forward to the point where I can say, “Oh – this is done? Let’s do it again!” 🙂 Just don’t tell my husband I said that.
When you move into a house, an almost immediate need is for an area that can be used and enjoyed, not just by the home-dwellers themselves but by friends and family as well. Despite everyone’s best intentions, that space usually ends up being the kitchen. I’m sure you’re familiar with those parties where everyone crowds in the kitchen while the inviting chairs and cozy couches in the next room, remain uninhabited. I always wondered why that was but when I stop to think about it, one of my main sources of happiness is food so……it kind of makes sense. Our kitchen however, with it’s tiny square footage, lack of seating and not much counter space doesn’t have a chance in hell of stealing our living room’s thunder. So by default, our “go to” space is the living room.
Our living room has been mostly done for a while now because we were eager for that “go to” space. Unfortunately, the space we had to work with posed problems when trying to decide on the layout of the furniture. With its modest size and long narrow shape, “How practically, comfortable could we possibly make it?” was my biggest, most constant nagging concern.
We are lucky enough to have a working, wood burning fireplace, which was on my “must have” list when searching for a home. Last winter, it was warm and inspiring despite the lack of warmth and inspiration of the room. It’s wrapped by a simple white mantle that I absolutely love and that in most spaces would be the perfect focal point – just not ours. Turning our furniture towards the mantle would cut off the openness of our space and would create havoc when trying to maneuver from room to room. It would also force us to place the TV above it, which would place a major strain on our necks and would take away from the mantle’s aesthetic appeal. We had to come up with something else but turning our seating away from the fireplace didn’t feel right. What is the point of having a fireplace, if you can’t see it? This was the first time that I felt totally stuck.
Growing up, my mom was constantly re-arranging the furniture and I can remember at least four different ways she could make it work, each time giving the room a fresh, new feel. Our living room doesn’t allow for the luxury of options. Oh – the things we take for granted when young. 😉
I didn’t want to wing it because;
a) to me, this is a crucial room to get right
b) furniture is expensive and if you must revert to plan B and change the layout, you need to be able to re-work the furniture you already have.
In this frustrating moment, I learned that Pinterest and Google can only take one so far and in that time of despair, hiring a professional entered my mind. To you, this probably seems drastic and unnecessary and is only something “well-off” people would even consider. My husband would straight up tell me the same. So, I didn’t share that thought. Instead, I put it on hold.
For a few days, I pretended to move on. And then this…
If you live in our area and haven’t been to The Farmhouse Store , you’re missing out. They sell everything from small household gifts to large pieces of furniture that can be customized (size, wood color, fabric, etc.) to your liking. They host a charming mix of country and chic – which to me is utter perfection. While in there perusing one day, we learned of their in-home consultation service to which the cost goes directly towards your store purchase. We knew we would be making at least one or two large purchases from the store, so why not bring someone in to help out with our living room debacle? For me and now my husband (phew!), it was a no-brainer. Essentially since (despite dad’s voice echoing strong in my mind that “nothing is free”) it would be free!
Tip #1: Free opportunities are out there. Of course they come with a cost. 😉
We ended up loving the consultation process (with local designer Michelle May) and the results that followed. She came into our home, eager and ready to make it our own and we could not be happier with the results. Turns out that the seating did not have to face the mantle for it to remain a powerful, beautiful presence. Having Michelle come in to assist remains one of our best home decisions to date. Our living room is actually featured on her website! How cool!
Once we chose the color scheme and the overall feel of the room (thanks to Michelle), we were ready to roll!
Tip #2: Don’t feel pressured to make everything match. You can choose furniture from separate collections or stores, in different colors and incorporate a couple different patterns. Pieces don’t always have to come as a set. You can definitely save money this way too!
Tip #3: There is no need (other than your own personal desire) to buy everything all at once. Our TV rested on two, small black Ikea end tables for months until I finally discovered our media stand in the middle of Home Goods. That’s okay.
Tip #4: Lighting is important. During the day, light is abundant in this room but at night, it is impossibly dark. Making sure there is ample light when the sun goes down, is critical.
I’m happy to say, other than maybe adding some pictures and nick nacks here or there, we definitely have our comfortable common area completed and we’re ready to share with all our friends and family.
Now, on to the next!